Longitudinal relations among maternal behaviors, effortful control and young children's committed compliance

Tracy Spinrad, Nancy Eisenberg, Kassondra M. Silva, Natalie Wilkens, Mark Reiser, Alison Edwards, Roopa Iyer, Anne S. Kupfer, Claire Hofer, Cynthia L. Smith, Akiko Hayashi, Bridget M. Gaertner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations


In a sample (n = 235) of 30-, 42-, and 54-month-olds, the relations among parenting, effortful control (EC), impulsivity, and children's committed compliance were examined. Parenting was assessed with mothers' observed sensitivity and warmth; EC was measured by mothers' and caregivers' reports, as well as a behavioral task; impulsivity was assessed by mothers' and caregivers' reports; and committed compliance was observed during a cleanup and prohibition task, as well as measured by adults' reports. Using path modeling, there was evidence that 30-month parenting predicted high EC and low impulsivity a year later when the stability of the outcomes was controlled, and there was evidence that 30- and 42-month EC, but not impulsivity, predicted higher committed compliance a year later, controlling for earlier levels of the outcomes. Moreover, 42-month EC predicted low impulsivity a year later. Fixed effects models, which are not biased by omitted time-invariant variables, also were conducted and showed that 30-month parenting still predicted EC a year later, and 42-month EC predicted later low impulsivity. Findings are discussed in terms of the importance of differentiating between effortful control and impulsivity and the potential mediating role of EC in the relations between parenting and children's committed compliance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)552-566
Number of pages15
JournalDevelopmental psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2012


  • Committed compliance
  • Effortful control
  • Impulsivity
  • Maternal responsiveness
  • Regulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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